Citizens, coronation chicken is a combination of precooked cold chicken meat, raisins, herbs and spices, and a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce which can be eaten as a salad or used to fill sandwiches.
Constance Spry, an English food writer and flower arranger, and Rosemary Hume, a chef, both principals of the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London, are credited with the invention of coronation chicken.
Preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as coronation chicken.
Coronation chicken may have been inspired by jubilee chicken, a dish prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935, which mixed chicken with mayonnaise and curry. Additionally, for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, another celebratory dish was devised, also called Jubilee chicken.
However, it was Rosemary Hume who was actually behind coronation chicken, the recipe for which went on to appear in the first edition, in 1956, of The Constance Spry Cookery Book and is indeed still to be found in the modern edition.
“One would not venture to serve, to a large number of guests of varying and unknown tastes, a curry dish in the generally accepted sense of this term,” wrote Spry. “I doubt whether many of the 300-odd guests at the coronation luncheon detected this ingredient [curry powder] in a chicken dish which was distinguished mainly by a delicate and nutlike flavour in the sauce.”
In the UK, this dish has become something of a 50’s cliché, much like cocktail hotdogs on a stick for Americans. TFD has redefined the dish to have some millennial attitude through the addition of horseradish, black garlic and other tweaks to be enjoyed by the loyal Citizens of the realm! 🙂 It truly deserves a renaissance in your kitchen. Enjoy this, perhaps as part of a British High Tea…
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